NARITA, Chiba Pref. – A Singaporean man has been arrested for trying to smuggle about 2,000 fake credit cards into Japan, police and customs officials at the New Tokyo International Airport said Monday.
The man, whose name was not disclosed, reportedly tried to bring the cards through the airport on June 2.
He had arrived on a flight from Singapore and was carrying the cards in a cardboard box that was spotted by a customs officer, according to the authorities.
They believe an organized crime ring might have been behind the smuggling attempt, because the cards are very accurate forgeries, no different in appearance from genuine cards.
The fake cards reportedly bear the names of six consumer credit companies based in Japan along with Visa and MasterCard logos. However, they lack numbers and names, and their magnetic strips are blank.
Investigators believe the suspect and possibly others planned to steal information from real cards and copy it onto the fakes, a technique known as “skimming.”
The authorities said the man’s arrest is the first large seizure of fake credit cards since June last year, when a Malaysian man was apprehended at Narita airport carrying 450 phony cards.